2022 Election: And then there were Seven

Three more seats decided, one to Republicans and two to Democrats. Republicans now hold a 218-210 edge, enough for a majority of seats. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20) will be House Majority Leader.

Updated map – as always, click for a larger view:

The current state of the House of Representatives, with 7 seats undecided.
Red = Republican
Blue = Democratic
White = party undecided
Click for a full-size version.

Results we now know:

California-27: Republican incumbent Mike Garcia

California-49: Democratic incumbent Mike Levin

Maine-2: Democratic incumbent Jared Golden

Still undecided:

Alaska at large: the entire state

California-3: the rural Sierra Nevada mountains and the northeastern suburbs of Sacramento, including Roseville

California-13: Merced and surrounding areas

California-22: The eastern half of Bakersfield and rural areas to the north

California-34: The eastern part of the city of Los Angeles

California-47: Long Beach and coastal Orange County

Colorado-3: Pueblo, Grand Junction, and the rural western third of the state

It will likely be a few days until the last seven races are decided – all are close enough that it will matter which voters follow up to “cure” ballots they cast on Election Day that were later ruled invalid.

What does the new Republican majority mean? Obviously, they will be able to pass legislation with a simple majority vote. As is always true even in the most divisive times, most of this legislation will be uncontroversial and will be quickly passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Biden. Obviously some will be controversial.

But the smaller the majority, the harder it will be to pass controversial legislation. Just as Democratic senators have had to convince Joe Manchin (D-WV) to vote with the party, Republican representatives will need to convince moderates who won in close elections – from places like Binghamton, New York (Brandon Williams, R-NY-22) and Scottsdale, Arizona (Juan Ciscomani, R-AZ-6). Banning gay marriage and endlessly investigating Hunter Biden might be popular in traditional Republican strongholds in the deep south, but will it play in Peoria (Darin LaHood, R-IL-16)?

It’s tempting to say “Republicans always follow the party line,” but historically that hasn’t always been the case, especially in the House. Ultimately this is an empirical question, and we will begin to know the answer in less than two months.

Updates as we have them.

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